Wellesley Tudor Pole

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Major Wellesley Tudor Pole O.B.E. (born Tudor Wellesley Pole 23 April 1884 – 13 September 1968)[1][2] was a spiritualist and early British Bahá'í.

He authored many pamphlets and books and was a lifelong pursuer of religious and mystical questions and visions, being particularly involved with spiritualism and the Bahá'í Faith as well as the quest for the Holy Grail of Arthurian Legend.

The musician and actor Edward Tudor-Pole is his grandson.

Personal history and events of note[edit]

Born in 1884, he was educated at Blundell's School in Tiverton in Devon and at the age of 20 became managing director of the family firm involved in marketing grains and cereals[3] and also became involved in adventures to find the Holy Grail.[4] He pursued investigations in the Middle East. On a visit to Constantinople prior to the Young Turk Revolution in 1908 he heard of `Abdu'l-Bahá[5] head of the Bahá'í Faith and met and interviewed him over 9 days in late November 1910 in Cairo and Alexandria.[6]

For the next several decades he was active in the Bahá'í Faith as well as other interests. When `Abdu'l-Bahá travelled to the West, Tudor Pole spoke the English translation of his first talk on the evening of 10 September 1911.[7][8] In 1912 he married Florence Snelling, with whom he had three children over the next nine years.[3]

During World War I, Tudor Pole served in the Directorate of Military Intelligence in the Middle East and was directly involved in addressing the concerns raised by the Ottoman threats against `Abdu'l-Bahá which ultimately required General Allenby altering his plans for the prosecution of the war in the Palestine theatre.[8] After the War, Tudor Pole began his writing career with Private Dowding which dealt with a soldier and his afterlife, and instituted The Silent Minute (in collaboration with Sir Winston Churchill), which united the British people each evening at 9 p.m. at the chiming of Big Ben on the radio.[9] Then came The Lamplighter Movement.[10] In 1921, while Tudor Pole was Secretary of the Local Spiritual Assembly in London,[11] the telegram announcing the death of `Abdu'l-Bahá by his sister, Bahíyyih Khánum, arrived at Tudor Pole's home in London and it was there read by Shoghi Effendi.[12]

In 1922 he began a long association with a project aimed at relieving the oppression the Bolsheviks on religionists in Russia.[3] (See also Bahá'í Faith in Turkmenistan.) Returning to his searches through the Middle East, Tudor Pole aided in the modern day identification of the site of the ancient Boukoleon Palace, also known as the House of Justinian.[13] Following Shoghi Effendi's leadership of the Bahá'í Faith, and the change in style and priorities of the leadership of the religion, Tudor Pole could not leave behind his spiritualist involvements and his involvement in the religion ebbed.[14] In 1959 Tudor Pole founded a group preserving the Chalice Well and Bride's Mound of Glastonbury, England.[3]

Tudor Pole wrote several books investigating spiritualist approaches to faith and the meaning of the times until his death in 1968. Works relating to him continued to be published after his death.


  • Private Dowding -The personal story of a soldier killed in battle was first published in August 1917, and then through six editions by 1966. In it Tudor Pole presents the case that war, and the Great War in particular, are spiritually driven events geared to prove the impotence of materialism.[15] The book also tells of the conditions of life after death.[16]
  • Abdu'l-Baha Abbas and the Baha'i Faith in Light (London) 70 (Dec. 1950): pp. 347–51.[17]
  • Recollection of a Healing Incident: Sequel to 'Abdu'l-Baha Abbas and the Baha'i Faith in Light (London) 71 (Feb. 1951): pp. 398–400.[17]
  • Michael: Prince of Heaven, Captain of the Angelic Hosts (Pamphlet) by Robert Morton Nance; Howard Jewell; Wellesley Tudor Pole; Margaret Thornley Segal; Frank Retallack; Robert Morton Nance and Neville Coventry, Publisher: J.M. Watkins - 1951, ISBN B000EGLX5Q
  • The Upper Room with Commentary is about a mystic experience of visiting the Upper Room of Christian reference.[18]
  • The Silent Road Published in London by Neville Spearman, 1960.
  • A Man Seen Afar Written with Rosamond Lehmann in 1965, it retells events in the life of Jesus Christ pondering the importance of everyday experiences he may have had[19] inspired by a conversation in 1917 between Tudor Pole and another British officer about World War I and its probable aftermath on the eve of a battle. In places it amplifies and elsewhere contradicts the Gospel accounts but is written to produce a kind of shock, as of fuller recognition of the events and import of the life of Jesus.[20]
  • The Messenger of Chalice Well is a newsletter Tudor Pole began publishing around 1967.
  • Writing On The Ground a sequel to A Man seen Afar[20] written in 1968, the year of his death.
  • My Dear Alexias which is a compilation of letters Tudor Pole sent to Rosamond Lehmann she published in 1979.

Mentioned in other books[edit]

Some of his contributions to history and humanity are referenced in The Story of the Divine Plan - Taking place during and immediately following World War I and is mentioned extensively in The Servant, the General and Armageddon (ISBN 0853984247). Sir George Trevelyan: memories and observations[21] mentions his close friendship with and actions on behalf of Tudor Pole. A biography The Two Worlds of Wellesley Tudor Pole by Gerry Fenge is being published on the internet and covers 1884 to 1931.[22]

Biographical notes[edit]

From the introduction to The Silent Road[23]

By Brinsley le Poer Trench

Some people are publicists; others act unseen behind the scenes and let their deeds speak for themselves. Tudor Pole is one of the latter group. If you passed him in the street you would not realize that there was anything particularly unusual about him. But he is, I assure you, a quite exceptional man.

He is utterly modest and unassuming. Although he would never admit it, I dare say that half his life has been spent in listening to people's troubles and advising them on how to overcome their problems. In addition, I suspect that much of his sleeping life is also taken up with problems concerning the world's affairs. And by this I mean actual spiritual work while he is 'out of the body' in the sleep state.

Tudor Pole is the confidant of the great and the lowly, the rich and the poor. He is a kind of Albert Schweitzer for the sick in mind. And yet he is wise enough to know that nobody can solve another's troubles or run their lives for them. One cannot permit another to take over one's own burdens and liabilities, leaving one, as it were, free and comfortable, without responsibilities. Each one of us has to find his own way and salvation. Spiritual and material progress lies solely with the individual. Outsiders can only point the way. And this is what Tudor Pole, in his wisdom, tells each one who comes seeking solace.

Although he has had many astonishing experiences of a most singular nature, some of which are described in these pages, he has his feet firmly anchored on the ground. The greater part of his life, apart from five years in the Army, has been spent in the world of industry. However, his interests are decidedly varied. He has traveled widely and has undertaken archaeological research in Egypt, Palestine, Turkey and the Sahara. ...


  1. ^ Villiers O.G. (1977) Wellesley Tudor Pole: Appreciation and Valuation. Privately published.
  2. ^ Births Jun 1884 Pole, Tudor Wellesley, Axbridge, 5c, 551
  3. ^ a b c d Fenge, Gerry. "Wellesley Tudor Pole.com". A few highlights from a full life (timeline). Wellesley Tudor Pole.com. Retrieved 2008-11-08.
  4. ^ Francois Martine, ed. (2006-10-01). "Da Vinci Code Decoded, The Holy Grail, P.2". E.P.Wijnants. Retrieved 2006-10-01.
  5. ^ Tudor Pole, Wellesley (1911). "A Wonderful movement in the East, A visit to Abdul-Baha at Alexandria". Star of the West. 01 (18).
  6. ^ Graham Hassall (2006-10-01). "Egypt: Baha'i history". Retrieved 2006-10-01.
  7. ^ `Abdu'l-Bahá (2006-10-01). "`Abdu'l-Bahá in London". National Spiritual Assembly of Britain. Retrieved 2006-10-01.
  8. ^ a b Lady Blomfield (2006-10-01). "The Chosen Highway". Baha'i Publishing Trust Wilmette, Illinois. Retrieved 2006-10-01.
  9. ^ "The Remembrance Ceremony". rsa.org.nz. Archived from the original on 4 June 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  10. ^ "The Lamplighter Movement". Tricia Claridge. 2006-10-01. Retrieved 2006-10-01.
  11. ^ Khanum, Rúhíyyih (1958-08-28). Merrick, David, ed. "Talks / presentations by Bahá'í notables". Rúhíyyih Khanum's Tribute to Shoghi Effendi at the Kampala Conference Jan 1958. Bahá'í Library Online. Retrieved 2008-11-08.
  12. ^ Khanum, Rúhíyyih (1988). The Guardian of the Baha'i Faith. 27 Rutland Gate, London: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. p. 13. ISBN 0-900125-59-4.
  13. ^ Macintyre, Lorn (1994). Sir David Russell: A Biography. Canongate. ISBN 978-0-86241-463-4.
  14. ^ Momen, Moojan. "Unpublished Articles". A Change of Culture. Bahá'í Library Online. Retrieved 2008-11-08.
  15. ^ Carrington, Hereward (1918). Psychical Phenomena and the War. University of Michigan: Dodd, Mead and company. p. 325.
  16. ^ "Review". Amazon.com. 2006-10-01. Retrieved 2006-10-01.
  17. ^ a b MacEoin, Denis; William Collins. "Biography/autobiography". The Babi and Baha'i Religions: An Annotated Bibliography. Greenwood Press's ongoing series of Bibliographies and Indexes in Religious Studies. pp. entries # 273–4. Retrieved 2008-11-08.
  18. ^ Tudor Pole, Wellesley. "The Upper Room". The Chalice Well Trust. Archived from the original on 2007-07-16. Retrieved 2008-11-08.
  19. ^ "Review". Amazon.com. 2006-10-01. Retrieved 2006-10-01.
  20. ^ a b Tudor Pole, Wellesley; Walter Lang (1968). Writing On The Ground. Whitfield Street, London: Neville Spearman Ltd. Introduction. ISBN 978-0-946259-09-0.
  21. ^ Ruth Nesfield-Cookson (2006-10-01). "Sir George Trevelyan: memories and observations". Retrieved 2006-10-01.
  22. ^ Fenge, Gerry. "Wellesley Tudor Pole.com". The Two Worlds of Wellesley Tudor Pole. Wellesley Tudor Pole.com. Retrieved 2008-11-08.
  23. ^ "The Silent Road (Introduction)". Neville Spearman. 2006-10-01. Retrieved 2006-10-01.
  • The Avalonians by Patrick Benham, Gothic Image Publications, Glastonbury, (1993).

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Wellesley Tudor Pole website including timeline, galleries, biographical chapters and ongoing research